Putting your leadership team on the path to success

Dr. Michael O’Brien
Executives should make time to engage with their teams to ensure everyone is working from the same play book.

By breaking down the barriers separating departments and empowering your team to think and act according to their own initiative, you can place your leadership team – and therefore your entire organization – on the path to success.

 

An important aspect of being a successful executive is surrounding yourself with the best team possible. Your leadership skills will guide your team through successes and setbacks, and it is up to these individuals to carry out your vision and rely upon your direction. Because of this, it’s crucial that your team understands your goals and how to achieve them. In addition, they need to feel empowered enough to excel in their roles.

While a quarterback might be the main person orchestrating a drive down the field, he’s only successful if every member of the team is doing their part to block, run, catch and evade the defense. Similarly, although you are ultimately responsible for which direction your company takes, it’s up to your entire team to execute the game plan and work in concert to reach the metaphorical end zone.

“Your team must execute your game plan and work in concert to reach the end zone.”

Break down silos

Bringing together a competent group of team members will only take your enterprise so far if these individuals are compartmentalized and siloed off from each other. A team needs to have open communication along with the space and time required to exchange ideas and bounce suggestions off of each other.

Further, while you need to carve out specific time to focus on strategic development and important decision making, you must arrange for moments when you’re accessible and open with your team as well. Just as you should set aside time in your “Fortress of Solitude,” you should also schedule a sort of “Castle of Camaraderie” that includes either regular open-office periods or a weekly sit-down with team members where anyone can ask questions or suggest solutions.

Not only does this allow your team to contribute to the success of your company, it also reaffirms their integral role within the organization. Top talent wants to be respected and challenged, and by bringing these individuals into your circle you demonstrate your trust and acknowledge their potential to succeed.

It's important for teams to have open and clear lines of communication with each other and with you.It’s important for teams to have open and clear lines of communication with each other and with you.

Empower your team

Along with breaking down the silos compartmentalizing your team members, you need to ensure these individuals feel empowered to make decisions and contribute to the company’s success. Empowering your team members requires faith in their skills and abilities, which ultimately stems from trusting your instinct that you hired the best people for the job. Provide these individuals with responsibilities that have clear-cut objectives and let them independently develop solutions.

If you micromanage every last detail and step of a task delegated to a team member, you are illustrating to the individual that you do not trust their judgment or decision-making ability. This can sow the seeds of doubt, and even potentially lead to insubordination if the team member thinks their role or input is insubstantial or even meaningless.

As Fortune noted, an empowered and autonomous team boosts productivity, innovation and a sense of project ownership. This is because the sense of empowerment makes individuals feel a greater sense of responsibility for the company and their job. When your team members are invested in the success of their responsibilities as opposed to merely doing their job simply because it’s their job, they are more likely to go above and beyond their baseline obligations and truly put their best feet forward.

By breaking down the barriers separating departments and empowering individuals to think and act according to their own initiative, you can place your leadership team – and therefore your entire organization – on the path to success.